Ariel Atom police car (2014) revealed: Plod's anything but

Published: 03 June 2014

Somerset sports car specialist Ariel has come up with a shock for any would-be crooks or speeders: the Ariel Atom police car.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has taken delivery of an Atom 3.5R fitted with the Honda supercharged engine good for 350bhp.

Even with the addition of police livery and blues-and-twos lights and sirens, Ariel director Simon Saunders is confident it'll hit 0-60mph in just 2.5 seconds. There'll be no getting away from this police car.

Why is Ariel dabbling in police cars?

It's a publicity stunt, naturally. There's been a long and occasionally frightening history of car makers lending their cars to police forces for road safety campaigns and the Ariel Atom police car is no different.

Saunders said he had got involved with the Somerset Safer Rider campaign to raise awareness among bikers, who represent one in five people killed on British roads.

And two-thirds of bikers who crash are aged between 35 and 55 and riding bikes over 125cc - born-again bikers, in other words.

Simon Saunders on the Ariel Atom police car

'Our business is about going fast, very fast, but there is a time and a place,' said Saunders. 'The Atom is designed to be driven to a race track, where you can drive to your limits in safety and in a professional environment designed for the purpose. The road really isn’t the place to explore your or your vehicle’s limits.

‘We’re just about to launch an all new Ariel motorcycle and we want our bikes and customers to be as safe as they possibly can be as well, so this message is important to us. There’s always one certain loser in a motorcycle collision and that’s the motorcyclist.'

The Safer Rider campaign will be launched at the Haynes Motor Museum in Sparkford, Somerset on Sunday 8 June 2014, where you can see the Atom police car in all its day-glo lunacy.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet